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Dues or no dues?

12 years 1 month ago #151483 by Tim
Replied by Tim on topic Re:Dues or no dues?
I've been the PTO president of my childrens school for 4 years now and we begin last year not charging dues. We have seen more parents attend meeting than in the past. One thing we do is have a theme for each pto meeting. We have 4 meetings a year for the entire school . We changed our dues because we feel that you should not have pay to be involved in your child's education. I noticed in some of the other post that some were worried about not getting the information for parent contacts if you don't charge dues. I would suggest you speak with your principal and discuss doing a volunteer form at open house. What we do is at open house, evey child's paperwork packet includes a volunteer form that we ask parents to fill out. This form will have the childs name, parent name and a contact link. The contact could be a parent cell phone # or a parent e-mail. It also includes an area of upcoming planned events for that year and they can check off what they would like to volunteer for and a comment section at the bottom of the page to give any additional information they would like to provide. Please note that the form does not have an address for the family (I know that is possibly something that would come up) and it not manditory for them to complete the form but out of 650 students we usually have over 500 forms completed. This information would be entered into a spreadsheet and used for different events so we can call on those parents during the events to volunteer. Don't be afraid to do away with dues and you might just see that parents will respond to help more quickly.
12 years 1 month ago #151488 by Monica Carroll
Replied by Monica Carroll on topic Re:Dues or no dues?
I kinda agree with your message. So much work for $300 then we have an awarded pizza party to the winning classes 1 elementary and 1 high school. We want all parents to feel like they are a part of our school because they are and this really seperates them. I am going to present it to our committee. Thanks :)
12 years 1 month ago #151499 by Stephanie Jennings
Replied by Stephanie Jennings on topic Re:Dues or no dues?
Our PTO calls it an annual appeal. We solicit direct donations once a year on top of our other fundraisers. It's been pretty successful and we're in the process of doing one again this year. End of year tax deductible donations are enticing for some folks in a few tax brackets. We don't have membership or dues. All parents at our school are considered members as the PTO is their organization.
12 years 1 month ago #151503 by Tracy
Replied by Tracy on topic Re:Dues or no dues?
All 10 schools in our town (north of Boston) have voluntary PTO or PAC membership dues. Dues range from $20-$35 per year. At the middle school where I am PAC Co-President (with approximately 550 kids), we raise over $12,000 every year in membership dues and it is very successful. Because paying membership dues is optional, all parents participate fully in the school as much as they would like. They do not have to be members to attend PAC meetings or volunteer. We have a huge number of volunteers (over 200 this year) and do minimal fundraising throughout the year (a few social events that we charge admission for and make another $10,000 per year). The people who do pay their membership dues get a family directory - which is an invaluable resource. It would be very difficult for us to sustain our budget without collecting dues.
12 years 1 month ago - 12 years 1 month ago #151504 by JHB
Replied by JHB on topic Re:Dues or no dues?
This is a topic some feel very strongly about. As I've said, I've experienced both dues and no dues and either can work well. But I do not see any significant link between dues and participation/involvement levels.

It seems very rare that a PTO would run its organization like a real "members only" club. All the kids in the school benefit from PTO activities; all parents are welcome to volunteer; all families are invited to PTO-sponsored events; in most situations the meetins are open to anyone.

For most of us, dues and involvement are two different issues.
12 years 1 month ago #151508 by Wendy
Replied by Wendy on topic Re:Dues or no dues?
Hello Everyone,

At the end of the last school year, as I prepared for my first year as president, I started reading all the PTO Today info on dropping membership dues and decided to come up with a plan to present the idea to our executive board.

I ran the financial demographics of our school, surrounding zip codes, and our free lunch program numbers. I figured I could prove my point by illustrating the local economy and comparing it with our dwindling volunteer list. I prepared a presentation along with copies of PTO Today articles in support of dropping the dues. In addition I submitted a plan to request school supply donations in place of membership dues. I pointed out that we raised only 550.00 the year before and could easily cover that loss with profits from more food sales at family events.

Well, most of the board supported the idea before I presented it in our first executive board meeting of the school year, but only four of us voted in favor of motion when it came to a vote. Fear of change seemed to be the only reason for not dropping the dues. The concept seemed to be too extreme for their comfort levels. They did not have anything to back up their positions except for saying we needed the money.

The teachers and admin members of our board were most opossed to the idea. As a parent and member of the local comunity I just don't think this group is in touch with the financial and cultural elements of our school families. I tried to show them the facts with the information I presented, but they did not see what was so clear to me.

Wendy

If I am voted in as president next year I will be resubmitting a proposal to drop the dues.
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